Your 9 to 5 might be (mostly) the same every day, but that is certainly not the case for production designers. “There are no typical days in designing. I think that’s why we all love this career,” Nelson Coates (“The Morning Show”) tells Gold Derby during our Meet the Experts: TV Production Design panel (watch above) with Gary Mackay (“Cowboy Bebop”), Rich Murray (“Only Murders in the Building”), Ondrej Nekvasil (“The Wheel of Time”) and Laura Fox (“The White Lotus”). “Every day is unexpected, no matter how it’s planned. That’s exciting. I think we all live off of that adrenaline.” Enjoy watching our group roundtable panel above. Click on each individual name to see that person’s solo interview.
For Nekvasil, he never dreads going into work. “I have the feeling that I would like to go to the office. I don’t have the feeling, ‘Oh, I would like to stay home,'” he shares. “Usually, I’m starting with the construction guys because they are quite early so we go through the stages first. Then I go to the workshop and go back to the office with my crew, and that’s how the day started. There are meetings and at the end of the day, like now, I’m able to start designing something because finally I’m kind of free and nobody’s having meetings or emails, so it’s a quiet office now and I can start working.”
Because there are so many different components of production design, from construction to props to scenic design, Mackay calls what they do a “melding of minds and problem-solving.” “It’s a really special and lovely role to play. Going around a bunch of construction sites, different sets, through the stages, through the backlot, over to the scenic workshop. ‘How’s this looking? Is this what you were after?’ Set dec department is above the scenic department for me, so go through all of their work,” he says. “I have a little team making spaceships over in the corner, and [then] back to the office for the meetings and then the design room. It’s a joy. Long days but fantastic days.”
Murray, a set decorator, usually starts his days pulling fabrics and dressings. “It’s always a bunch of meetings with scouts and everything, and a million people asking questions. So you can barely get anything done until it’s way past everyone’s bedtime, but that’s when all the fun starts,” he states.
A typical day for Fox would mirror the aforementioned ones, but things were decidedly different for her on “The White Lotus,” which filmed in Hawaii last year at the Four Seasons. “This job would begin with a swim in the ocean with the turtles with my art director,” she notes. “We would also usually run into the director, and then all of those things. How often does that happen that I can say that?”
Watch the full discussion above.
Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?